Rep. Jean Wagenius (DFL, 63B — Minneapolis, Richfield) has announced that she will not seek reelection in 2020. First elected in 1986, Wagenius is serving her 33rd year in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
In explaining her decision, Wagenius said, “I have been on the cutting edge of so many issues during my career and have championed clean air and clean water even when those issues were on the legislature’s back burner. Now, thanks to Minnesotans who voted in 2018, there is a new and larger group of legislators who are already effective leaders for clean air and water and combating climate change. I can now serve in a new way. I will not stop being an advocate and a mentor.”
Wagenius’ broad record of achievement for the environment includes nation-leading legislation to get toxic mercury out of products; creating enforceable standards to protect groundwater; and creating and funding the terrestrial plants and pests research center at the University of Minnesota to combat the ever-increasing problem of invasive species. Her work for children includes the first state funding for all day kindergarten and requiring the Minnesota Department of Health to replace its outdated, adult-based air and water standards with tougher child-based standards so toxins will not affect a child’s development or contribute to diseases like cancer.
Wagenius currently chairs the Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Division where she leads the effort to reduce greenhouse gases that are causing the climate crisis and help Minnesotans manage the destructive impacts that are already happening. In her last year as a legislator, Wagenius expects to focus on climate issues and will continue to push state agencies to meet their statutory responsibilities to protect drinking water sources.
Rep. Wagenius has previously served as chair of the following committees: Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance; Transportation Policy; and Labor.
Wagenius concluded with thanks to her constituents, “There could not be a more thoughtful and passionate group of voters in Minnesota. With your grassroots support and small contributions from so many, you gave me the freedom to be the kind of legislator I wanted to be. I couldn’t have done it without you.”